Air Conditioner Compressor Cost: Replacement & Repair Rates

Air Conditioner Compressor Cost

It happens to the best of us: Summer comes, and the Compressor in your air conditioner gives out. You know you need to replace it, but how do you go about it? What is the cost? Having a better understanding of the price breakdown will help you understand your spending range to get your AC back up and running.

The average cost to replace an air conditioning compressor is about $1,200. Homeowners spend an average of $800 in labor at a rate of $100 per hour. Mini-split AC compressors average $1,100, window unit compressors average $150, and central air conditioner compressors cost $950.

In this guide, we take you through the various options you’ll have when considering an air conditioner compressor replacement or repair. Average costs and pricing factors are included to help you create your budget for this project.

Average Cost To Replace AC Compressor
Low  Average High
$800 $1,200 $2,800
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Home AC Compressor Cost

You will most likely pay around $1,200 on average for an air conditioning compressor. However, most people will find themselves paying between $800 and $2,800. Expect to pay $400 to $1,600 for parts, with labor, at $50-$150 per hour, making up the rest of the cost. 

The cost can be broken down into two parts—around 45% for materials, and 55% for the labor. So, if your replacement unit costs $1,200, expect labor costs of approximately $1,466.

AC Compressor Price Factors

If your outdoor unit is hard to access, it will need more time and increase your labor cost. The cost will vary by $100 to $200, depending on the brand you choose. In areas with a higher cost of living, contractor expenses for premises, insurance, and utilities will also be higher. These costs will be factored into their pricing.

Take into account other fees, which will vary depending on your location. These additional fees include:

  • Your HVAC contractor
  • The condition of your current system

If your current system is in poor condition, you may want to consider installing a new AC at the cost of between $3,500 to $7,000.

Average Labor Cost To Replace Residential AC Compressor

Replacing an AC compressor will cost between $400 to $1,200 for labor. HVAC contractors typically charge $50 to $150 per hour, although labor costs vary by region.

In more expensive areas, such as San Francisco or New York, the service is likely to cost more. However, if you shop around a bit, you will find carrying rates within your region. Make sure you ask what the rate includes as different contractors offer different package deals.

Whole House VS Mini Split AC Compressor Replacement Cost

They will cost about the same, or $400 to $1,600 for the unit. You’re unlikely to save money if you buy it yourself, as your contractor can usually get better deals.  Besides, if it’s under warranty when you purchase it, you’ll have to deal with the registration and any claims.

Residential Air Conditioner Compressor Cost By Size

The cost of replacing an air conditioner compressor is from $800 to $2,800, including labor. Replacing a 5-ton compressor will cost 2 or 3 times as much as replacing a 1-ton.

AC Compressor Size Price Guide
Size In Tons Price
1.5 $800 – $1,400
2 $900 – $1,500
2.5 $1,000 – $1,700
3 $1,200 – $2,000
3.5 $1,300 – $2,200
4 $1,500 – $2,500
5 $1,650 – $2,750

Before you install a new compressor, it’s essential to get advice from a specialist about the size requirement. This is a rough idea of what’s needed:

  • Approximately 25 BTU’s per square foot or 1 ton per 500 square feet.
  • 1 ton equals 12,000 BTU’s (British Thermal Units).

AC Compressor Types Price List

AC Compressor Cost By Type
Type Cost
Mini Split $400 – $1,800
Window Unit $100 – $200
Central Air $300 – $1,600

Central Air VS Window VS Mini-Split Compressor Cost

A compressor will cost anything from $100 to $1,800, but this differs according to the system you already have. Central AC and Mini Split systems work similarly.  A condenser unit houses the unit outside. There’s a small cost variation between them, depending on the brand.

If energy efficiency is your priority, think about upgrading your current central unit to a Mini Split. They are expensive to install at $8,000 to $15,000 or more, but over their lifetime, running costs are far lower.  Also, it’s possible to control the temperature in each room independently.

Replacing or repairing window units will cost more or less the same. A window unit repair will cost $100-$350, while a new ac unit installation costs $150 to $500.

Single-Stage VS Two-Stage

In the US, single-stage compressors are the most commonly used. When the temperature moves above the set temperature on the thermostat, it will turn on. After it turns on, it will function at maximum capacity until the internal temperature drops back within the set range.

The dual-stage compressors operate in 2 modes: high and low.  Based on the internal temperature, they select the mode. When required, the Compressor will operate run a maximum full capacity, but it will run at low speed to keep the room cool for more time.

The dual-stage runs longer at a reduced capacity, which helps control humidity more effectively than a single-stage compressor. However, the single-stage Compressor is excellent in areas with dry heat where you need to cool a room down quickly.

Air Conditioner Compressor Cost By Brand

AC Compressor Cost By Brand
Brand Price
Whirlpool $400 – $1,200
LG $500 – $1,500
Trane $300 – $1,800
Carrier $400 – $800
Lennox $450 – $2,000
Rheem/Ruud $450 – $1,400
Goodman/Amana $250 – $1,300
York Coleman $500 – $1,000

The brand is a large factor in price as well. Each brand is derived from different materials, so it would be a good idea to research the brands before purchasing. Also, brands tend to offer different warranties. If you shop around a bit, you will find a brand that fits your preferences and needs.

AC Compressor Repair Cost

Repairing the AC compressor cost depends on the parts needed, but average around $125 to $450. Routine HVAC repairs cost from $150 to $550. However, significant repairs could be as much as $1,000, in which case it may be more cost-effective to install a new unit.

Cost To Fix AC Compressor
Part Average Price Price Range
Start Capacitors $200 $150 – $500
Refrigerant Lines $450 $220 – $660
Hard Start Kit $200 $100 –  $300
Circuit Board $300 $150 – $650
Refrigerant Leak Detection &Repair $1,000 $200 – $1,700
Capacitor Replacement $250 $100 – $410
Compressor Leads & Lugs $125 $75 – $200

Residential AC Compressor Leak Repair Cost

It may only cost $200 to locate the source of a leak, but repairs can come to $1,700 or more.  If your system runs r22, it may be better to upgrade to a more recent r240a system. In addition to the cost of leak repair, there may be additional expenses, such as freon refills at $150 to $350.

DIY AC Compressor Replacement VS Professional

An experienced DIYer can replace AC compressors. However, in some areas, a license is needed to handle refrigerant gases, so to avoid penalties, it’s best to check first. By using a specialist, you’re guaranteed a professional job. He or she will deal with any compressor line problems, as well as the unit itself. It’s the best choice if you have a dual-compressor air conditioner.

How To Know If The AC Compressor Is Working

Check the compressor fan air with your hand. If the air is just cool or slightly warm, these are signs of a worn or bad air conditioner compressor. If the AC compressor gets hot, it may be a sign that your air conditioner compressor is bad.

Signs Of A Bad Air Conditioner Compressor

  • Little or no hot air outside
  • Unusual noises coming from the unit
  • The Compressor doesn’t switch on
  • The AC unit is hot
  • It is blowing warm air into the room.

AC Compressor Maintenance

If you have a split ac, the term compressor maintenance mainly refers to the condensing unit located outside. The Compressor is housed in this unit. There are several ways to protect a compressor and keep it trouble-free.

  • Replace the AC filter regularly.
  • Keep the louvers of the condenser free of dust, debris, or contaminants.
  • If the outside temperature falls under 40 degrees Fahrenheit, prevent it from freezing by wrapping it in insulating material.
  • Ensure the condenser unit is not blocked by branches or other vegetation. Keep a clear space of at least 2 feet behind, and 4 feet at the front and sides.
  • In summer, engage the high-pressure switch, if your Compressor has one.
  • Protect the Compressor from direct sunlight when possible.
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Related Questions

How much does it cost to fix or replace a compressor in an air conditioner?

Expect to pay $800 to $2,800. This will vary according to the size of the unit and brand. Make sure you shop around to get the best deal available. If you hire a professional, try to get a few quotes as prices will vary by contractor.

Should I replace or repair my house AC compressor?

If you have a warranty with your air conditioner, it’s best to just replace it. Or, you could bring it in for repairs covered by the manufacturer. Also, if your AC is old, you should replace it to save yourself from the hassle of constant maintenance. However, if you only need a part replaced, a simple repair should suffice.

What does an AC compressor do?

Its job is to compress the refrigerant gas and propel it through the unit. The Compressor plays a big part in helping to cool down the room in which the AC is in.

How long do home air conditioner compressors last?

On average, 10-20 years, depending on the brand or as long as your AC system.

Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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